Last month I was able to attend a one day workshop presented by Becky Goldsmith of Piece O’ Cake designs. If you have read this blog for ANY length of time, you will know that I am not big on hand work but I really wanted to spend more time with Becky so decided to take the class.
Becky had a wonderful set up that allowed us to see everything that she did and to easily follow her instructions.
She walked us thru the process of making the templates, marking the fabrics, preparing a layout guide and finally doing the actual sewing.
As we worked thru the day, I (yes I) started getting excited about trying some hand applique!!!
One of the most interesting things about her presentation was the way that the needle is held……
Now in this photo, I am holding a toothpick, but it allows you to better see how the needle is positioned to make the stitch.
Per Becky’s suggestion, I am using a stick on thimble pad on my index finger and also have a stick on metal thimble on the bottom finger…..
The top one is great for stitching and the needle bounces off of the bottom thimble and makes it easier to bring the needle back up thru the fabric.
She also had some needles for us to try and they were wonderful!!!…..
SO, I came home and decided to put it to the test.
I modified her technique a bit and used freezer paper for my templates rather than encasing the paper templates in laminate and then cutting them out. I then ironed the template onto the fabric and used a pencil or blue wash-out pen to draw around them…..
Becky also encouraged us to not worry about how wide our line was. Instead she really wanted us to be able to see it…..
After the pieces are cut out and ready for applique, you start by finger pressing around the drawn line, trying to keep the line as part of the seam allowance…..
The piece is placed on the background, using a pattern drawn onto clear vinyl….
After pinning it in place, you stitch the piece from the top of the applique, working from right to left. You fold the seam allowance and the left hand holds it in place while you stitch.
Now comes the other of Becky’s great tips……she uses a toothpick to fold the fabric under, sometimes “patting” it in place rather than folding it under. She encouraged us to wet the toothpick first so it would grab the fabric better. This is SO much easier than using the needle as it is larger and it also doesn’t tend to shred the fabric as much.
It is by no means perfect, but it is MUCH better than anything that I have ever done before. I think that it is the use of the toothpick and also the way of holding the needle that has made the difference for me.
One thing that I loved about Becky is that she puts detailed videos on her website so that you can go and easily see her technique. You might want to check it out at….. http://www.pieceocake.com/Lessons/LessonsFromPOC-AppliqueTechniques.html
Now to try another piece and see if I can improve my technique!!!!